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Random Ramblings

Smoothing the emotional curve of running a business.

  Gregg Blanchard     September 10, 2021    

The other day I got an newsletter from Jon Yongfook, the guy who is building the automated image API called Banner Bear. I follow Jon for a few reasons - the product is amazing and makes me want to brainstorm some new just to give myself a reason to try it - but one of the biggest is he's a solo founder who is trying to balance running the business with building the business with marketing the business and staying emotionally and mentally on top of everything.

He writes a roughly every-other-week update about the business and himself. On August 30 he said something that caught my eye for reasons I'll talk about in a second.

I also turned off churn notifications this month. If you don't know what that is, it's emails that I get saying "Oops! A customer just canceled their subscription!".

It is of course important to know what your churn rate is, but getting real-time alerts on individual customer churns is a distraction. What are you going to do with the information? Sure, maybe you want to follow-up with the customer but you don't need to do that 5 seconds after they cancel. So really, the churn alert is redundant at best and stress-inducing at worst.

I'm so much happier without the churn notifications!

This caught my eye for two reasons.

First, starting in August I decided to only check our revenue numbers twice a month. I had started to feel similar things to Jon, but couldn't quite put my finger out it even though I guessed that would help.

Second, I realized that these notifications were having the same impact. Even thought I know that overall a month is up, it's still takes some weird emotional toll seeing too many "negative" indicators - a few churn notifications without a new user notification, a couple days with negative growth, etc.

I guess the way I'm learning to describe it is smoothing the emotional curve of running a business like this.

When you're analyzing data, I can be good to "smooth the curve" of a chart by looking across spans of data (taking averages, for example) so that you see the trend but don't get distracted by the odd valleys and spikes. Jon's idea does this really well and, combined with watching numbers only at certain points, I've already seen an uptick in my optimism and just overall clarity of thought around SendView.

Thanks, Jon!